L'individuazione dei primitivi della Teoria degli Elementi: la questione dell'economia

Laura Bafile


The paper discusses the question of “overgeneration”, that in the literature concerning segmental phonology and Element Theory in particular has been often proposed as a major concern affecting the definition of elemental inventories. Beyond specific representational needs, the danger of overgeneration is the motivation generally mentioned for progressively shrinking the inventory in successive versions of Element Theory. The paper argues, on the one hand, that cuts in the element set may cause effects of “undergeneration” and hinder the representation of relevant properties of grammar, and on the other hand, that the dimension of segmental inventories of natural languages are largely determined by principles that are not uniquely linguistic. On this basis, the proposal is advanced that overgeneration is no relevant issue for a theory whose goal is to provide a model of I-language.

Parole chiave

Element Theory; overgeneration; phonological theory; segmental inventories; Universal Grammar

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15160/1826-803X/1596


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ISSN: 1826-803X

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